10 Ways Space Travel Will Change In The Next 100 Years

10 Ways Space Exploration Could Change in the Next 100 Years 10 No More International Space Station The International Space Station, celebrated in 2018 the 20-year anniversary of its first component entering Earth’s orbit

In that time, 5 different space agencies have expanded it significantly at a total cost of around $150 billion, extending its life expectancy from a conservative estimate of 15 years to 2020, then 2024 Discussions are taking place in 2018 over whether it could last until 2028, and as technology advances these estimates could continue to extend But there are suggestions that funding may be discontinued by Trump’s administration in 2025, to free up NASA funds for missions to Mars This makes it a near certainty that this decade will see the end of the station This means the loss of the most important testing ground for all new space-bound technologies

So, if the station is lost before a suitable replacement is established, it could put a significant dent in the future of space travel 9 Space Tourism Today, the Apollo moon landing would cost the US around $150 billion That’s about 7 and a half times NASA’s annual budget, placing a lot of the future of space travel in the hands of commercial companies, who can sell space travel as a product As with the space race, commercial space travel is heavily fuelled by competition

Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo craft is scheduled for its first passenger flight in 2018, taking 6 passengers just shy of the Earth’s orbit SpaceX has gone one further by scheduling its two person tourist trip around the moon for the same year Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has joined the race by claiming his company will beat SpaceX to completing the first manned Mars mission Competition could fuel centuries of innovation in commercial space travel Former NASA astronaut Don Thomas even predicted that within 10 years, flights to space will cost the public between 10 and 15 thousand dollars

8 Settlements Above Venus The majority of interplanetary travel is currently geared towards reaching Mars, making it easy to forget that Venus is about half the distance from us on average While its surface could melt lead, designs have been made to allow small colonies to live in its more hospitable atmosphere 50 kilometers from its surface, the upper atmosphere of Venus has similar levels of pressure, density, gravity, and radiation protection as the surface of Earth NASA’s 2015 HAVOC study produced designs for a lighter-than-air craft that could support a crew of 2 for 30 days in the atmosphere

Unfortunately, NASA have yet to fund the concept, but the team continues to work on the project in the hope that funding will become available in the next few decades While it’s not yet clear whether it will happen within the next century, one member of NASA’s Space Mission Analysis Branch claimed they believed that it may “someday be possible to live in the atmosphere permanently"" 7 3D Printing in Space The looming question mark over the future of space travel is its cost 2014 saw the first ever object 3D printed in space, and numerous wider applications have been planned to establish the tech as the future of cost effective space travel

In 2013, NASA awarded a $500,000 contract to technology firm Tethers Unlimited to develop printers that can produce antennas and solar arrays of up to a kilometre in length This is almost 30 times the current size of solar arrays on the International Space Station This will significantly extend the parameters of our search for extra-terrestrial life, without the cost of transporting pre-made materials NASA have also funded research by architecture firm Foster and Partners into printing habitable moon buildings using lunar soil There’s currently no timeline these plans, but rapid advancement of current 3D printing suggests the technology will play a huge part in sustaining life outside of our own planet in the next century 6

Return to the Moon Since the last manned mission to the moon in 1972, it’s been a constant source of conversation as to when we might return The Space associations of China, Russia, Europe and Japan all have plans to send humans by the mid-twenty-twenties, with some NASA experts adding that a moon base could theoretically be established within 7 years Beyond this, in 2017 a Japanese probe discovered an underground cave that could provide the location for a proposed Moon base At 100 meters wide and 50 kilometers long, it would offer stable thermal conditions and protection from micrometeorites and cosmic radiation In the short term, this could offer a sustainable replacement for the outgoing International Space Station

But long term, this and other craters could in the next century become a feasible solution to Earth’s worsening overpopulation, with suggestions that they could contain deposits of ice and water 5 Interstellar Travel Today, a trip to our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, would take around 100,000 years One group, though, is working even now on shortening this The 100 Year Starship is a NASA funded hivemind of leading scientists and former astronauts

They aim to reduce the trip to under 100 years, but also to make it a possibility within the next 100 years While this is largely theoretical, the project serves as an intense problem solving manual which will pave the way for a possible manned mission by the year 2112 Studies include the possibility of a spacecraft that sustains several generations of Astronauts to make the trip, and which methods of propulsion would make for the shortest trip The project’s founders also remind skeptics that 70 years prior to the moon landing humans hadn’t yet invented flight So with today’s rapidly progressing technology, there’s no reason to believe that this century couldn’t see the launch of a spacecraft that will eventually reach another solar system

4 Self Sustaining Ships Current spacecraft designs require inbuilt mechanisms to deal with any and all issues that may arise over the whole course of the trip Further to this, in journeys of several years or more, technology on the ship can become quickly outdated For interstellar travel, new spacecrafts will need to be able to fix themselves and adapt to unknown environments Project Persephone is a theoretical study lead by Dr

Rachel Armstrong, co-director of the University of Greenwich’s Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research program The project’s aim is to fundamentally redesign the spacecraft in order to double up as a self contained ecosystem Early designs, for example, show tunnels made from advanced synthetic soil, recycled from space debris In this and other designs, Persephone demonstrates how living technologies like protocells and programmable smart chemistry could create evolving systems that will react to the needs of their inhabitants 3

Space Food As space travel sets its sights further afield, food available for astronauts must adapt with it Longer journeys require non-perishable food that can be consumed in low gravity and will provide sufficient nutrients for the Astronauts In 2013, NASA commissioned a company called BeeHex to design meals which could be 3D printed onboard ships These are for manned missions to Mars, estimated to take around 8 months This allows easier storage of nutritious ingredients in powder form, which can be printed into more interesting, varied meals than astronauts have been able to eat previously

Should interstellar travel become a reality, however, trips could take hundreds of years This means food would eventually need to be produced in transit Researchers at Penn State University have found a potential food source by repurposing human waste Breaking down the waste with microbial reactors, they were able to produce a nutritious paste like food from faeces, which they described as tasting like marmite 2

Probe to the Sun After almost 60 years of planning, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will launch in 2018, on a 7 year course to the sun The probe will come within 4 million miles of our nearest star, closer than any in history, before being destroyed in the extreme conditions Built to withstand temperatures upwards of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the probe will provide a wealth of new information on the sun A more detailed understanding of the sun’s solar winds can help future designs of both suits and ships This would protect astronauts from solar conditions for years to come

The ability to better predict the sun’s behaviour could also be crucial in protecting the planet from any unforeseen space weather that could, according to a NASA statement “cause havoc at Earth"" 1 Colonisation of Mars With an unmanned cargo mission optimistically scheduled for 2022, SpaceX hopes its first manned mission to Mars will leave in 2024 The intention of this mission is to carry cargo to prepare for future trips, with a sight to establishing a small station on the red planet Whether or not these dates are accurate, it’s very likely we’ll see a human on Mars by 2030, but Elon Musk is looking even further ahead

In 2017, the SpaceX CEO announced plans to have established a colony of a million people on the planet within the next 40 to 100 years These plans have been taken skeptically by some, but the planet may be more habitable than it seems A 2016 study from Wageningen [Wah-gen-inn-gun] University & Research centre in the Netherlands resulted in the breakthrough ability to grow 10 different crops from soil that mimics the conditions on Mars, passing a major barrier on the road to the colonization of Mars So that was 10 Ways Space Exploration Could Change in the Next 100 Years Do you want a house on Mars? Would you eat that Marmite-like spread? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to like and subscribe

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